Before I fell pregnant I had imagined blossoming and glowing during my pregnancies, enjoying the time I had before the birth and bonding with my unborn baby; I thought I would spend my days going out for tea and cake with friends and family, and generally having a lovely time.
I looked forward to going shopping for baby things, experiencing strange and exotic cravings, feeling excited about the birth, nesting and preparing my home for the wonderful new arrival, and generally looking radiant.
Unfortunately I suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), which meant that I was not fortunate enough to experience the joys of any of the above during my pregnancy. Don't get me wrong, I had good as well as bad days; on the bad days I couldn't even get out of bed; but on better days I was able to go out with friends and family, and lead a normal-ish pregnancy. Unfortunately for me, the number of bad days greatly out weighed the number good days.
There is a wide misconception that HG is the same thing as morning sickness!! This is certainly not the case. The following table details some of the core differences:-
Since having two Hyperemesis pregnancies, I have been actively involved in the HG community. In preparation for writing this post and to get a more balanced view and promote awareness, I asked the ladies on one of the HG Facebook pages to write down their experiences, in particular what they were expecting verses what actually happened. Here is what they had to say:
"Before I was pregnant I couldn't understand why my mum said she hated pregnancy (she was very sick, as was my Grandma). I thought I would love being pregnant, that I would go to antenatal yoga classes, eat the healthiest foods I could find, and wan t to do it all over again once it was over. In reality, I could barely eat a thing, when I could finally eat it was cheese and coke (!) and antenatal yoga was out of the question as movement made my sickness worse. I went from thinking I'd be a "mother earth" type who bloomed in pregnancy to actually being a grey, lifeless lump who hated herself. It takes a long time to realise that this was my experience and I still wonder why it had to be so hard... I think there will always be a part of me that feels robbed of the pregnancy I dreamed of... but mostly I now just feel glad we survived and have our beautiful boy!"
"before I fell pregnant I was a keen runner and had several friends who had run through their pregnancies. I was completely certain I would do the same, I even bought a book on running in pregnancy. I would stay fit, be healthy, maybe run a few races while pregnant. When sickness first struck I read in my book that exercise can ease morning sickness and duly went out in my kit, more of a shuffle than a run, as I kept having to stop to be sick in bushes. After this I gave up on running, feeling a massive failure. Why could others manage what I couldn't?"
"I was looking forward to the lovely "glow" you're supposed to get and what silly cravings I might get. Couldn't wait to show my bump when in fact with dd #1 I never left the house except for hosp visits. When I first vomited I was so excited thinking oooooh its real! I have morning sickness!"
"I planned to stick to my slimming world diet and walk the 20 min walk to work everyday, not much, but I didn't achieve any of it! I hardly made it out of bed, let alone to work after 4 wks into my pregnancy! xxx"
"I looked forward to it all! After being diagnosed with premature menopause at 17 and told I would never have children the idea of being pregnant was a dream I never thought I'd get to realise! Years of waiting and £7500 worth of IVF I was over the moon! Then hg struck and all I wanted was for it to be over but I wanted it so much! The guilt I felt was immense!"
"I thought I would be glowing, feel amazing, would love my bump and baby from the word go....reality- I felt shit, hated baby/bump and wanted to terminate the preg (lucky did not) but felt so guilty at the time and still feel so guilty now"
"I was looking forward to being so close to my husband... U know this little person growing inside me is ours and we could spend hours cooing over my beautiful bump...... Didn't happen! Couldn't stand the smell of my hubby and pushed him away Wanted bump pics but couldn't even wash my hair! I really did want to enjoy it all but really didn't! Yet here I am again! Lol x"
"I was really excited - I thought I'd be a natural and would love being pregnant as I felt I was really naturally maternal. It really upset me in my first pregnancy when my husband used to say 'pregnancy doesn't suit you' (cos I was so ill) - this time round I've been more prepared and am quite happy to say I don't do pregnancy well and look forward to it being over!"
"This 2nd pregnancy has been worse! The hg was worse and having a toddler to look after when I felt as bad as I did! I simply wanted to stay in bed and never move! At 15 weeks we thought we were losing the baby and I was almost relieved that it would be over! Never felt so torn and guilty in my life! I had wanted it so much and I was so lucky to have had successful IVF I surely should be grateful not feeling like I did"
"I dreamt of cravings and embracing the bump! Never had either! Was always prepared for sickness as my mum told me she was bad and my best friends suffered but nothing quite hits home until you're going through it yourself"
"I expected to glow, to have a plain sailing pregnancy and labour, for everything to be pretty much textbook but I had the opposite didn't enjoy pregnancy unfortunately x"
"I too couldn't stand smell of husband thankfully 2nd time round I can be around him more now 20 week mark has passed. We had to sleep in separate rooms.
"How many times do you get asked 'How's everything and how's baby'? I have an automated response of "I don't do pregnancy but ask me again once baby's here and ill be fine". People don't know how to react! I hate pregnancy with a passion but give me the newborn, sore nipples and broken sleep and I'm fine with that!"
"The worst thing is peoples faces when I say I'm still being sick! It's easier to just say 'I don't do pregnancy very well, I'll be glad when it's over'!"
I would just like to say a huge thank you to all of the lovely ladies that contributed their thoughts and experiences. Hopefully together we can raise awareness and promote better understanding about HG and towards those that are suffering with it.
I am not one for shamelessly asking for publicity, but could I ask you all to please consider kindly sharing these posts, as HG is a lesser known condition that we really need to promote awareness of?
If you would like to talk to me about my experience in greater detail, please do not hesitate to Contact Me or leave a comment in this post; alternatively, for more information about Hyperemesis Gravidarum please visit the Pregnancy Sickness Support website: -http://www.pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk/help/